Rules Roundup: Bedrooms

Rules Roundup
What Constitutes a Legal Bedroom in the MLS?

Does it depend on a particular city? Does there have to be a closet to make it a legal bedroom? Must there be at least an egress window in it? What is the minimum square footage that a room can have to be considered a bedroom?

Because real estate is locally regulated, the legal definition of a bedroom varies across locales.  Here are a few things to consider before determining, for example, if your listing is a 3-bedroom, or actually a 2-bedroom with a large walk-in closet.

Up to Code is Key
NorthstarMLS rules state that the bedroom must be up to code (local or municipality?). That can mean different things in different places — a bedroom might be grandfathered in from an old code. However, if a bedroom is up to code but it’s not what most would consider a bedroom, the listing agent should state that. For example: “4th bedroom does not have a closet” or “basement bedroom has low ceiling height”. If the bedroom doesn’t meet code, then of course it shouldn’t be listed.

Selling or Renting?
If it’s a rental, check the rental license and follow the guidelines pertaining to it. If the property is for sale, NorthstarMLS rules require you to go by the tax record or laws of the local municipality.

Basement Dwelling
Basement bedrooms always require an egress window. That’s the law, so there is no flexibility there.

Contact the NorthstarMLS Rules & Regs Department at 651-251-3210.

Thanks to Jenna Potter from Oaks Realty LLP (Annandale, Minn.) for submitting her question – ‘what constitutes a legal bedroom’. She’ll be receiving a $30 Caribou Coffee gift card! Submit your own question at for a chance to win next month.

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